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Those who have found success tout the benefits, while those who experienced only challenges lament the drawbacks.

Ginger Rowsey, Senior writer

September 1, 2022

3 Min Read
Cover crops often evoke strong opinions.Ginger Rowsey

As we open our cover crop issue, I’m reminded of a conversation I had on one of my first farm visits with Delta Farm Press

I always ask producers for input on future stories. What topics would you like to read about?  

This particular farmer’s response was, “I think you’ve done enough on cover crops.” 

Ok. Message received. 

Maybe people are tired of hearing about it. Although, considering the current administration’s push for climate-smart ag practices, I would say we’re still on the first page when it comes to cover crop coverage. With $20 billion on the line, it is important that we keep reporting on these practices and learning from each other about how to make them work. More importantly, talking about practices that could help our environment is the right thing to do. 

On the other hand, I do understand the frustration. Cover crop research could often be described as nuanced at best and sometimes downright conflicting. Yield response to adoption of cover crops in corn and soybean systems has historically been variable, as have net economic returns. Sifting through the clashing information is difficult. 

While cover crop adoption continues to expand rapidly, opinions on cover crops still vary widely. For every three producers you meet who gush about improved water infiltration, increased soil microbial activity and weed suppression, there is the one dissenter who insists cover crops cause a yield drag and don’t pay for themselves. 

There is the urge to write off the critics for not trying harder to incorporate a practice with so many environmental benefits. But if a practice didn’t work on your farm, would you keep doing it? 

It’s my observation that the attitudes do mostly depend on personal results. Those who have found success tout the benefits, while those who experienced only challenges lament the drawbacks … which could be said for a lot of things. 

For example, foliar fertilizer ... skip-row cotton ... the effectiveness of adjuvants, and … the Keto diet. 

If you have ever met anyone who has lost a lot of weight on Keto, you know they truly delight in sharing the many benefits of the diet and how giving up carbs changed their lives for the better. These conversations mostly happen while you’re trying to enjoy dessert. 

Keto can deliver some impressive outcomes. I’ve seen friends shrink in a matter of weeks. And you can find numerous studies that insist this ultra-low-carb lifestyle is healthy and provides benefits beyond weight loss.

I’ve even tried Keto myself, but my results were only ho-hum. I tried harder, keeping up with macros, exercising more, but still not seeing the results of friends. Did some online looking for answers and ended up finding all the articles on the many negatives of Keto. Isn’t it funny how we can always find something online that supports our theories? 

Eventually, I ate a cookie and moved on. 

Did I give up too soon or was it never going to work for me? Your opinion of my decision probably depends on whether you lost 20 or 2 on Keto.

The saying goes, you can't argue with results ... but we certainly find a way.

About the Author(s)

Ginger Rowsey

Senior writer

Ginger Rowsey joined Farm Press in 2020, bringing more than a decade of experience in agricultural communications. Her previous experiences include working in marketing and communications with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. She also worked as a local television news anchor with the ABC affiliate in Jackson, Tennessee.

Rowsey grew up on a small beef cattle farm in Lebanon, Tennessee. She holds a degree in Communications from Middle Tennessee State University and an MBA from the University of Tennessee at Martin. She now resides in West Tennessee with her husband and two daughters.

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